Abidjan, Ivory Coast:
Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the ruling party's candidate for the October presidential election, died on Wednesday at the age of 61.
"I am deeply saddened that Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the Prime Minister, left us this afternoon after attending a cabinet meeting," said Patrick Achi, Secretary General of the Ivory Coast Presidency, on public television.
Coulibaly returned to the West African country last week after a two-month absence in France to seek medical treatment for recurrent heart problems.
He was announced as a candidate for President Alassane Ouattara's party in early March after Ouattara ended months of speculation and said he would not seek a controversial third term.
"I pay tribute to my younger brother, my son Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who has been my closest colleague for 30 years," said Ouattara in a statement.
"I salute the memory of a statesman, a man of great loyalty, dedication, and love for his homeland," he added.
After the closure of the Ivory Coast borders due to the coronavirus pandemic, Coulibaly, who had a heart transplant in 2012, traveled to France for medical care on May 2.
About a week after his arrival in France, he received a stent after examining his coronary arteries.
"I am back to take my place alongside the President and continue the task of developing and building our country, Ivory Coast," said Coulibaly upon arrival at the airport in the country's capital, Abidjan, last Thursday.
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